Local woman goes from queen to cuffs

Forgery, theft undo former pageant winner

— A local woman will be arraigned April 4 in Yakima County Superior Court after she allegedly tried to forge a check.

Cecilia Marie Armendariz, 39, is charged with forgery and second-degree possession of stolen property, records show.

She appeared in court yesterday and her bail was set at $15,000, records show.

Armendariz was captured after Fiesta Foods store employee David Soto told police he recognized her.

“Soto advised that he knows Armendariz was Miss Sunnyside years ago,” Officer E. Huizar said in papers provided to the court.

In 1994, Armendariz was crowned Miss Latina Washington in ceremonies at Sunnyside High School, according to archives at The Daily Sun.

Yakima police arrested her after she tried to cash a check for $850 at Fiesta Foods, records show. Soto believed the check to be a forgery.

He later identified her photo from Yakima County CrimeStoppers, records show. A match was also made by consulting the store’s surveillance video footage.

It is alleged Armendariz stole checks from a Yakima business’ mailbox and used one in her forgery attempt, records show.

It is the second bout of criminal charges for Armendariz in less than six months.

Last October, she was charged with first-degree burglary and second-degree possession of stolen property after she allegedly broke into a Grandview home.

She was arrested after a man found Armendariz in his parents’ bedroom, records show.

The son and Armendariz battled for about five minutes and she scratched him on the left arm before fleeing, records show. She fled on foot with jewelry she later admitted was from the residence.

Armendariz told police she didn’t know who lived in the home, records show. She said she was directed there by a friend who told her when the occupants would be at work and what type of jewelry was in the house.

On further investigation, officers also learned Armendariz was found with credit cards belonging to one of the victims, records show.

The victim’s wallet was lost at a gas station near Washington Elementary School in Sunnyside, records show.

Officers conducted a search warrant of the car Armendariz drove to the burglary site, records show. That’s when they found the victim’s credit cards and her drivers license.

Armendariz was able to enter the home through an unlocked window, records show. She was interrupted during the burglary when the victim’s son heard a knocking at his door.


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